Nearly one in five Americans, 19%, have drawn on their retirement savings in the past year to cover emergencies, a survey of 1,004 adults by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Bankrate in early April found.
Seven percent say they do not have any retirement savings.
In addition, 33% said their financial situation is worse than it was a year ago and feelings of financial security, as measured by the Financial Security Index, sank to a new low of 93.5, down from 97.0 in March. The previous low was 94.6 in December.
The percentage of Americans who are comfortable with their debt has fallen for the fourth month in a row (January: 27%, February: 26%, March: 24% and April: 18%).
“Raiding the retirement account prematurely depletes the nest egg, subjects the individual to taxes and penalties and deals a permanent setback to retirement security because you can never go back and make up for those early withdrawals,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with Bankrate.